Ciriole Pasta With Arugula Pesto

This is a quick, easy pasta dish that can be prepared from start to finish and be on the table in under 30 minutes. One of my favorite pasta varieties I use often here in Umbria is called ciriole, and is simply a square cut long artisan pasta made with semolina and it works really well tossed with a pesto sauce in this dish.

You could also use spaghetti, or even linguine if you prefer. I have been making my arugula pistachio pesto sauce quite a lot lately, and it is delicious tossed with hot cooked pasta along with a handful of fresh arugula leaves and some lightly toasted, chopped pistachio nuts. You could also add some halved, ripe cherry tomatoes if you like which creates a very colorful dish, or even add some grilled shrimp to the pasta.

When I am cooking pasta for just the two of us, I always measure the pasta, and I use 100 grams per person if pasta is our main course, or 75 to 80 grams if I will be serving a second course of meat or seafood. I always cook my pasta in a large pot of salted water that has come to a full rolling boil first.

Do not add olive oil to your water, and never rinse your pasta after cooking as the starch left on the pasta helps bind the sauce to it. Use the manufacture’s timing for cooking as a rough guide, and taste your pasta a couple of minutes before the package states it will be done. You want your pasta “al dente”, or just slightly firm to the bite, not soft or mushy.

To toast your pistachio nuts, lay them out on a baking sheet and cook them for 5 to 6 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven. Cool, then coarsely chop.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Ciriole Pasta With Arugula Pesto

Ciriole Pasta With Arugula Pesto

Yield: Serves 4 - 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 Pound Pasta of Choice (See Notes Above)
  • 1/2 Cup Arugula Pistachio Pesto
  • 2 Packed Cups Fresh Arugula Leaves

To Serve:

  • 1/4 Cup Lightly Toasted, Shelled Pistachio Nuts
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, then cook your pasta until it is “al dente”.
  2. Drain the pasta, reserving a small cup of the pasta water.
  3. Return the pasta to the pot along with the pesto.
  4. Cook over high heat, tossing the pasta with the pesto along with a tablespoon or two of the pasta water to loosen it a bit.
  5. Add the arugula leaves and toss, then serve immediately topped with the chopped pistachios, the cracked pepper, and a spoonful of grated cheese.

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  1. Good heavens, this looks good. I’m calculating how soon I could get my hands on some organic arugula. All I have in my orto (piccinino) right now is collards, and the leaves are still small. Whenever I find the arugula, could I mix in some baby dandelion leaves, do you think?

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